“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste it, to experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
A lot of people say travel is expensive. Then they buy the latest car or ATV although travel would have cost them a fraction of that. And buying on credit adds an extortionate interest rate to the car´s cost too.
Everyone has their priorities and for me, a travel plan is way ahead in terms of investment. It costs less than a fancy car and long term it gives back MUCH more. How?
You face new challenges when you are out of your comfort zone. And with challenges, you grow! In so many ways! The unknown, such as exotic dishes, or an unfamiliar local language will become a source of new stimulation. Distance from your normal (old) ways of seeing life creates new ways of thinking and the result of new connections in your brain is a fresh perspective. Thinking differently and stimulating your brain rewards you with a more open mind. Instead of a tired, old (inflexible) shoe, your mind is more like a sponge, adapting and absorbing new impressions. I prefer the mental stimulation.
The stimulation is in discovering and reflecting on differences. Embracing diversity is the best way to learn. The differences in the world make it infinitely more beautiful and interesting. Wouldn´t the world be dull if we were all the same?
To value diversity, we need to take the time to observe and understand. Through travel, we ask questions of ourselves and others. When we understand better, we have less prejudice and more compassion about different lifestyles and beliefs. And it reduces fear of differences. The opposite of fear is peace – both inner peace and peace with others. Diversity is a blessing.
Through travel and taking an interest in people and their lives, the joy of talking to different people develops as does an ability to manage social situations. You learn to make conversation with strangers more confidently and enjoy your time with people from varied cultures and backgrounds. Feeling comfortable and confident enough to have a conversation with a range of people is so important in our interconnected world today. Your social life and career will blossom. And you never know, you might meet a friend for life or a partner… Tip: I find traveling to places where people actually have the time to talk is more fulfilling. Sometimes capital cities are not the best option if people are too busy to chat.
Your education jumps too by understanding myriad details about the world including its art, geography, fashion, politics and a list of topics ad infinitum. It´s humbling to realize the little we really know and this stimulates that we keep learning at global and local levels. The more we experience, the more we want to be informed. I think visiting a range of countries including developing nations (and living in them if possible) is excellent for a wider world viewpoint.
Lastly, and a really exciting reason to invest in travel is that the planet we live on is full of adventures! Why miss out on them? Enjoy, laugh, learn, dare yourself and grow with the unknown. If you dream of trekking into the Mayan jungles in search of a seldom visited pyramid or scuba-diving with manta rays, do it! Accepting challenges and learning to be less afraid, translates to courage that lasts for life. Even seemingly simple choices like getting married, having kids or opening a business require courage and character. Taking risks in travel adventures is a fun way of creating courage within you.
The younger the better to obtain the benefits of travel but at any age, what a fantastic investment in so many life skills and personal qualities!
As for being a tourist on an organized tour, besides being expensive, it is very different from doing it independently. Independently, you reap more of the incredible benefits mentioned. (Soon I´ll write about traveling independently without spending a fortune.)
Compare these advantages with buying a car. The car is a material object and the benefits include comfort and convenience (which isn´t really a way to get out of your comfort zone and grow.) The benefits of travel are more about an investment in your character and identity and the world needs the most evolved you. The world needs you to be the best person you can be.
Plus a new car will lose financial value immediately. An investment, by definition, should give a long-term return, not lose value. And in some countries like Mexico where I live, there are a lot of safety issues affecting people with fancy cars. What about a smaller or less showy car and developing other forms of transport?
Besides, while traveling (and seeing different types of transport), you can see that the American model of lots of cars and motorways is not a progressive model. To care for our world responsibly, the future lies in fewer cars, less pollution and more ecological forms of transport.
So I believe a fancy car or an ATV is a mistaken investment compared to travel!
What do you think about the benefits of travel compared to a car? I´d love to hear in the comments what YOUR opinion is.